Activated charcoal is an extremely absorbent, binding substance that has emerged as a newfound remedy for stained teeth. It’s so absorbent, in fact, that is commonly used to treat drug overdoses and poisons due to its ability to soak up and remove the substance.
The practice for teeth, which has been claimed to naturally whiten them, has seen a surge of popularity on the internet and social media, particularly in YouTube videos which show users brushing their teeth with black, activated charcoal.
Is it safe?
The Trend Is Quite Popular
A large amount of Youtubers have posted videos where they brush their teeth with the substance and show the gleam of their smile at the video’s conclusion. Many swear by the positive effects of the activated charcoal on their smile, with it’s whitening effect quite noticeable on the teeth of these internet users.
Jordyn Cormier of Care2 said after using charcoal tooth powder, she noticed the effects. She warned users that that the substance can be quite abrasive, stressing moderation.
“Yep, they were noticeably whiter and felt great. It is pretty incredible. I now use activated charcoal around twice a week to keep my teeth clean and happy,” she said. “Yes, I still use a fluoride-free toothpaste, mainly because charcoal is a little bit more abrasive and I don’t love the idea of cleaning charcoal-spit out of the sink every night.
There Is Little Research On Activated Charcoal’s Effect On Teeth
While the trend has gained steam online, it has also come under fire from dental professionals and organizations for a lack of research on its safety and effectiveness.
In an article in the Journal of the American Dental Association, dental experts concluded that there is “insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy claims of charcoal and charcoal-based dentifrices.”
The lack of evidence on the effects of activated charcoal scrubs raises concerns among dental professionals who believe that the scrub could be too powerful and abrasive on teeth, leading to worn down enamel and damaged teeth.
Dr. Susan Maples, a Michigan-based dentist and author, told FoxNews.com that she is worried about the trend’s effect on enamel, which cannot be healed.
“I worry about the long-term effects of a video like this,” she said. “Teeth are the only part of the ectoderm that does not replenish or heal itself— once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can color your hair, you can pierce your skin, damage your nail, shave an eyebrow— all of that comes back.”
Moderation Is Key
When it comes to using activated charcoal on your teeth, it’s best to consult with your dental professional first. Your dentist can provide safe, approved alternatives to whiten your teeth without the risk of enamel damage.
If you do decide to go ahead with giving it a try, it’s important to use it in moderation to to charcoal’s abrasive nature. Using it in moderation can limit the damage it has on your enamel, while still serving to incrementally whiten your smile.
Be sure to conduct research before using charcoal, and use your best judgment as to whether you should give activated charcoal a try, or opt for professional care to brighten your smile.